Publishers like EA and THQ are apparently having quite a bit of success with their new approach to online multiplayer/content access in games. Pick up a title new, get a redeem card that allows you to either access the multiplayer component in UFC Undisputed 2010, or in the case of things like Mass Effect 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2, whatever DLC is offered. Opt for the used route, though, and it’s time to start coughing up extra cash, usually between $10 and $15 for said content. It looks like the first-part manufacturers are wanting to get on board with this.

Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s Andrew House says that the publisher is “broadly supportive” of third-party companies’ Online Passes, and they’re looking into something for their own Sony-published titles.

On the principle of making online portions of the game available or unlocked from the disc-based release for a fee, we’re broadly supportive of that,” House said. “And we’re exploring actively the same option for our own content.

In terms of just a charge for basic online play,” he adds, “that’s something that we have to talk about a lot more. We struggle with a little bit because we feel very vindicated and base a lot of the success of PSN today — a 70 percent connection rate across consoles — on the fact that we’ve removed that major initial barrier to entry.” House is naturally referring to the fact that PlayStation Network does not require a paid subscription to play online games, like Xbox LIVE, even with the advent of PlayStation Plus.

Definitely interesting to see this idea permeating even further through the industry. One wonders where it will end up, and how quickly we will get there.


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